Thinking about getting a paternity test?

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If you would like to know what is involved in DNA tests, the process of DNA testing, and the possible results of DNA testing, you will be interested in the following information.

Taking a DNA test sample

In recent years it’s become common practice to take DNA sampling for DNA tests using mouth swabs.  This obviously makes the process easier and quicker than in the past when you had to take a blood sample to have a DNA test.  However, research shows that some companies claim it can take up to 2 hours to take a DNA testing sample - even with mouth swabs.

It revolves around what is done with the mouth swab once you’ve rubbed it gently around the inside of your mouth, and between the teeth and your gums to collect the sample.  Apparently in some cases DNA testing companies are recommending that you wave the cotton bud around for a few minutes to let it dry, or in one instance leaving it to dry on an envelope - for 2 hours!

Other companies use specially designed mouth swabs along with a collection card that stores the sample securely – this only takes a few seconds.  Then you can throw the mouth swab away – it’s no longer needed. 

Your DNA test results

Once your samples have reached the laboratory the DNA testing process can begin. You should expect to receive a report on your DNA test results within 3-5 working days. The wording of the report needs to comply with the Family Law Reform Act 1969 so that DNA Paternity Test reports can be accepted and used in court proceedings. An ethical and accredited tester will supply reports to the appropriate standards.

DNA testing will result in a report which will either exclude a man from paternity or will provide conclusive evidence that he is the father of the child.  If for example a child (Mary Jones*), her mother and her alleged father (James Smith) were tested, the report would be worded as follows:

A positive paternity result

Probability of paternity 99.9999%

Combined paternity index of 1,000,000 to 1

The putative father, James Smith is not excluded from the paternity of Mary Jones. The results obtained are consistent with James Smith being the biological father of Mary Jones and are one million times** more likely if James Smith is the father of Mary Jones than if they are unrelated.

The probability of paternity given the DNA evidence is at least 99.9999% compared to an untested random man of the UK population.

A negative paternity result

The DNA tests exclude paternity. James Smith cannot be the father of Mary Jones as he lacks the genetic markers that must have been inherited by the child from the biological father.

Thinking about getting a paternity test?

Download our free PDF guide


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Paternity testing guide

  • What does it involve?
  • Types of DNA test
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